::These are a few of my favorite things::

Here’s a look at what I’m loving lately from the Blogosphere and beyond…

 kitchen renovation

 This is a great looking kitchen remodel that shows you don’t have to start from scratch to have a fab kitchen!


the porch of all porches

Check out this fabulous porch – if you weren’t in the mood for spring, you will be now!


chair aprons

I love these chair aprons – an easy way to update your chairs!


chic shelf paper

I was surfing around looking for some cute contact paper for my kitchen and found all of these chic patterns!


downton abbey

I was a bit late to the Downton party but was hooked when I started watching in December.  My only complaint is the seasons are too short.  I love, love, love this show and season 4 just ended so it will be a long year without a Downton fix.  Lucky are you who haven’t started watching yet – available for streaming free on Amazon if you are a Prime member!  If you are looking for more great shows to binge on, might I suggest “Breaking Bad” – all seasons now available on Netflix and quite possibly the best show ever on tv.  Its like a major depression when these shows are over.  Also try House of Cards, Weeds and Scandal.


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This book, “The Goldfinch“, is almost 800 pages but once you start reading you won’t care.  The subject matter is a bit dark, but the way this book is written is what sucks you in. I’ve never had to use my Nook dictionary so much when reading a book – its chock full of every adjective in the English language and the story just envelops you.  For me it was worth the late nights of droopy eyelids just to see what happened next!


I owe you a bunch of pictures from all of the work I have been doing around the house – my latest project is my bookshelves.  I’d rather shop for 12 couches and rugs rather than accessorize, but I actually have had fun doing my shelves.  My shelves are really big, so filling them is a challenge and I needed a lot of things with height.  Thank you, Marshalls and Home Goods!  My inspiration came from a designer I follow on Instagram – she took this photo at a show house in Utah and I loved all the whites and creams – and the books turned backwards was SO much easier than covering all my books in white paper!

bookshelf inspiration

white ceramics for bookshelves

I went to the Atlanta Furniture Market and Scotts last week and it was a blast!  Scotts was an experience – you can find just about anything you could imagine.  I bought this for my bookshelves – it looked like driftwood but it is actually a vine from Thailand…

my bookshelves

House updates soon, I promise!

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My Kitchen & Olympic Obsession


     I am always obsessed with the Olympics and this year is no exception.  I’ve had a few laughs with all the #sochiproblems from yellow tap water to strange toilets.   How does that segue into my kitchen?  Well, it doesn’t so just go with it!  I’ve written a lot in the past about my kitchen dreams like here and here.  Remember I created a two-tone kitchen here.  Well, painting your kitchen cabinets is NOT fun.  But it must be sort of like childbirth because I’ve pushed that memory far enough into the back of my mind that I’m ready to paint the lowers and the island.  I’m going to paint the lowers the same Sherwin Williams Dover White and then I’m going to paint the island Benjamin Moore Crystal Blue.  I recently had my kitchen dining table painted Benjamin Moore Majestic Blue and the chair are Crystal Blue.  Wish me luck!  I also ordered a beaded chandelier from World Market to go above the island.  I’m going to Scotts in Atlanta in March and hope to find some bar stools as well.

world market beaded chandelier

This is the chandelier I ordered from World Market  – only available online here.

Benjamin Moore Crystal  Blue 2051-70The island and kitchen dining chairs – Benjamin Moore Crystal Blue 2051-70.

Benjamin Moore Majestic Blue 2051-40My kitchen dining table – Benjamin Moore Majestic Blue 2051-40.

Here is a “before” of my earlier “after” of the kitchen taken in October – it should take me about 2 weeks to finish Phase 2!


And moving right along to the Sochi Olympics…

   I love the Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Canada – as a mother, I can’t imagine having all 3 of my kids competing in the SAME Olympics!  Justine and Chloe both medaled (gold and silver) – sadly the third sister came in 12th.

dufour-lapointe sisters



     Have you watched ice skating?  The 15 year old from Russia, Julia Lipnitskaia, is unreal.  If you didn’t watch it, find it on YouTube…her spins are epic.

julia lipnitskaia

julia lipnitskaia 2

 Gracie Gold from the US – lives up to her name…looks like Grace Kelly and is beyond graceful…and the perfect last name for an Olympian…

gracie gold

gracie gold 3

gracie gold 2


Check out this free Olympic printable here!

olympic printable

   In Valentines Day news, I made some delicious cookies I saw on Pinterest – they turned out so cute and are melt in your mouth good… I am actually making a 2nd batch today.  I found some cute red heart plates at Target and am passing them out to a few friends and teachers!  Click here for the recipe.

valentines cookies


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Check out all of my favorite paint colors on my Pinterest paint board here!


The Penthouse Life

Ariel Dunes Penthouse

     Last week we listed a penthouse in Miramar Beach in a building across the street from the Gulf of Mexico called Ariel Dunes –  and wow, was it ever impressive!  So impressive, that it was under contract and closed in ONE WEEK!  Even though it sold before I had a chance to tell you about it, I thought you would enjoy the photos of this property.  Lately we’ve had some dismal weather (including 3 snows days off from school last week!) so photography has been a challenge.  But the winter lighting is spectacular if you can catch it just right…and avoid the fog.  This condo has a huge wrap-around balcony, floor to ceiling sliding doors plus 3 bedrooms and was sold fully furnished, down to the silverware!  Without further adieu, here is the penthouse….
















Happy Hump Day!


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Before & After – a Beach Condo on 30-A

     Now this is what I call a top to bottom, fabulous renovation!  This condo, located in Seagrove Beach on Highway 30-A, was not much to write home about when it was on the market.  The new owners were lucky enough to purchase this condo well below the appraised value and did a beautiful, thoughtful renovation in my personal favorite style – coastal.  The home is now on an exclusive rental program and available for beach vacation rentals – a big plus is this management company launders the sheets AND comforters for each guest!  It is 4 bedrooms and is just steps to the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Enjoy the before and after photos with sources and details at the end!

Before & After Beach Condo Reno

before living room 2












Before After Kitchen to LR

before kitchen

Notice they removed that awkward pantry!



These bar stools – gah!!!



before dining





Before After Master Bedroom


DSC_0553Before After Master BathDSC_0557

 Before After Front bedroom

DSC_0550before After bunk bedroom


Before After Beach bedroom











 before exterior

 Sources & Info:

Floors – the main living areas are a ceramic tile that looks like wood – $5/sqft; travertine in bathrooms and new carpet in bedrooms.  (Total Cost – $15,000)

Paint – All colors Sherwin Williams – main living areas “Softer Tan”, blue rooms “Sea Salt” and Master Bathroom “Comfort Gray”  (Total cost to paint the entire condo $12,000)

paint colors

Scott Antique Market -( omgeee I get to go to Scotts for the first time in March and I’m beyond excited..I need to sell 12 houses and rent a U-Haul before I go!) The kitchen barstools (I covet these), coral art in Master Bathroom and the driftwood bowl centerpiece on the dining table.

Ballards and Ballards Outlet – all rugs and the guest bedroom burlap bedskirt, curtain panels and linen headboard ($250)

Lighting – all lights purchased at Lowes except the dining chandelier is from United Lighting in Destin  ($380)

Kitchen – the cabinets are from Discount Cabinets in Panama City – best price after 4 quotes  (Total cost $19,000 for cabinets, granite, appliances and sink)

Living Room – furniture and artwork from Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin; fireplace mantle was custom made and distressed Cypress

Hallway Artwork – painted by the owner’s sister, an artist

Media – 5 televisions installed, dvd players and router ($7,000)

Resin Artwork – Sharon Kator of Glass-Eyed Seahorse

Other – most of the other accessories, linens, lamps, hallway art were purchased at Home Goods, Kirklands and Steinmart

Furniture – $25,000

Condo – we sold this condo (as a short sale) for only $436,000! 

TOTAL renovation cost – $100,000!

Want to escape winter and rent this stunner?  Click here!

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Happy New Year!



Merry Christmas!


merry christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!  2 professional photo shoots and I still didn’t have a card.  What’s a girl to do – especially one like me who usually has her Christmas card photo locked down by July?  (Man plans, God laughs)  We got a real tree this year – the first time ever – and we took an impromptu picture at the beach with the kids and the tree strapped to the roof.  I made the card myself and had it printed in a metallic finish from Nations Photo Lab (first time ordering and I loved the quality!)

Florida has been very warm, unlike most of the rest of the country.  Sister sent me this from North Dakota…

national I hate florida day

Today was 75…just saying!

Last weekend we took a fun weekend trip with 4 other couples to New Orleans.  If you ever book a trip to Nola, make sure its not the weekend of a Saints game and go to dinner ridiculously early.  We made a few jokes about a senior discount, but it turned out to be a great call because we avoided most of the debauchery you’ll see should you venture out later.  It was a great weekend and the French Quarter was decked out in her Christmas best…

new orleans

new orleans lights 1

new orleans tree

3 cities

new orleans nativity

I bought this nativity set in New Orleans to add to my collection…

We got back from Nola just in time for a neighborhood progressive dinner party.  The dessert house was gorgeous and decorated impeccably, and they had brick floors.  I want.  Every single time I try to get brick floors, the flooring store talks me out of it.  #never again

brick floors

Today I was in charge of serving breakfast foods to 140 fourth graders at son’s school on pajama day.  What a bunch of cutie patooties!  Then a Christmas lunch with my mom and some friends.  I tried to be festive, sporting my furry vest that is on a fine line between super cute and super ugly… but its 75 degrees out –  and on a side note the weeds are about to take over my yard…in December…

fur vest

I’m hosting around 40 friends and family for Christmas Eve.  #crayiknow  I will likely be decorating up until the minute my guests arrive.  I think the late Thanksgiving threw me for a loop.  Here are a few Instagrams of the house so far…

wreath and new doors 2

I have been knee deep in re-decorating since July.  I ordered new interior doors and these crystal knobs from Emtek that are sooo pretty and feel so good in hand.  Its the details!  I had my eye on this Smith & Hawken wreath at Target and yesterday it was already marked down 50%.  #mine


We are enjoying the real tree after my quest for a faux flocked tree didn’t pan out.  Next year for sure…

sled 1

I bought two sleds at antique shops years ago – now I need an old pair of ice skates.  Perhaps ebay in July?  Some poinsettias would be nice too #aintnobodygottimeforpoinsettias

front door 2

Sled #2 – such cute photo ops on the beach when the kids were wee… 

front door

This is a real wreath decked out with a lighted burlap bow #yesitscrooked

paper whites

My paperwhites started to droop so I tied them with a red tulle bow.  I just read you need to feed them a bit of alcohol and it stunts their growth! #toolatethisyear

christmas chandelier

Stole this idea from a restaurant in town – so easy and so pretty at night!

Have your selfie a Merry Christmas!!!

new orleans selfie


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Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

     giving quote

      I promise I am not one of those people who starts decorating in November!  However, I do start thinking about my Christmas cards in July.  But I digress…  Last year we had the Christmas Miracle Project and thanks to each and every one of you, we were able to bless a family that had suffered great tragedy and we were able to get them everything on their Christmas list!  This year I don’t have a big project, but I think our spirit of giving can bless more families this year.  I received an e-mail last week from a friend about the hungry children at our local schools – kids in our little beach town who don’t eat much outside of their free or reduced school lunch.  We can drop off food such as peanut butter, applesauce cups, canned food, granola bars and even baby food to the school anonymously – each Friday the kids in need can discreetly fill a bag from the pantry and bring it home with them.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our carpool schedule, homework and after school activities that we don’t realize there are kids all around us who don’t have enough food to eat!  I encourage you to find a school near you and see if there are some children you can bless.  Most guidance counselors will be able to give you a list of what needs can be met.  I always believe we should help those who can’t help themselves.

     Now back to Christmas cards – as the resident amateur photographer,  a lot of people ask me what to do for their family photo – and believe me its hard to come up with a new idea each year.  And as the kids get older, they are less likely to be cooperative.  I’m here to the rescue with a few ideas!

1.  Choose your best Instagram photo and have it printed at Persnickety Prints – they will print your photo on card stock paper printed like a Polaroid.  Use an app like “A Beautiful Mess” to add text to your photo.  You can use multiple photos on one card using an app like “Pic Jointer”.  Use your Instagrams to decorate a tree too, or have them turned into calendars or other gifts.

instagram persnickety

2.  Be inspired by where you live.  My cards are consistently either a beach photo or a photo from our summer lake vacation taken by our favorite photographer, Otis and James.  One of our photos is actually a sample on their website for Christmas card orders – I love this photo so much I might send one of all the cousins this year just to use it! #cutestkidsintheworld

Otis and James photo card

      If you are living somewhere cold, there is nothing better than a snow photo.  If you don’t have snow, you can realistically fake it using Pic Monkey!  Here are some snowy photos from my Pinterest Christmas Board to get you inspired…the first one might just be the most beautiful photo ever taken…

snowflake lashes

The next five photos are just candid shots of kids in the cold – use a sled, blanket or a mug of hot chocolate as a prop…

hot chocolate

girl in hat

boy in snow

wrapped in blanket

poinsettia girl

This is a picture I took of daughter last year here at the beach – it was 60 degrees but thanks to some editing, it looks downright cold!

fake snow with santa

I am in love with these photos using a cute little car as a prop – anyone have a friend with a red Mini Cooper?

red car in snow with tree on top

santa in car

silver car with family inside 

car kiss

Here are a few more ideas – just insert your family!

kissing snowman

snow ball

snow at night

santa suit

packages on sled


cold portrait

getting fresh tree

bike in snow

horses in snow

 3.  Fake it!  Buy some fake snow or glitter at Target.  Dress the kids up in coats, hats and gloves and have them blow the fake snow or glitter from their hands and click away…

blowing glitter

blowing snowflakes

child blowing snow

 Happy Monday!


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